Red Cross and the Role of Occupational Therapy
About Red Cross in Canada
The Canadian Red Cross offers several community health services in Canada:
Check out the Red Cross website for more information on what they do.
In PEI, the Canadian Red Cross Health Equipment Loan Program (HELP) provides Canadians with short-term loans of health equipment on a donation basis. This consists of a Bed Loan Program and a Short Term Loan Program. In addition there are other Home Equipment Loan Program offices operating in rural communities, some of which are supported by the Red Cross.
- Bed Loan Program — provides loans of home-use hospital beds to Prince Edward Island residents with delivery, pick up and installation provided.
- Short Term Loan Program — allows people to return home from hospital earlier and gives independence and dignity to those in palliative care. Individuals can receive aids such as wheelchairs, walkers, bath seats, benches, commodes and toilet seats, crutches and canes, bed handles and other durable medical equipment.
This equipment is recommended by a health professional, such as an Occupational Therapist.
Most often an individual is seen in the hospital by an Occupational Therapist as part of their discharge planning assessment or at home by a Home Care Occupational Therapist when they return home. Home equipment is recommended to increase their safety and independence at home. The Red Cross Health Equipment Loan Program is especially helpful to those with limited funding and to those needing home equipment on a short term basis until they recover from an injury or illness.
Occupational Therapists play a fundamental role in home safety for frail seniors, and persons with disabilities. Their assessments involve reviewing daily functional transfers to determine safety transferring on and off the toilet, in and out of the tub or shower, in and out of bed, in and out of a vehicle, etc. They make recommendations for modifications, adaptations, and often recommend home equipment. Occupational therapists are often involved in assisting individuals with obtaining funding and/or assisting individuals in locating the recommended equipment for rental or purchase.
In some provinces, Occupational Therapists are employed directly by Red Cross for the provision of specialized equipment.